One of the oldest and most beautiful hot springs in California, Harbin Hot Springs is now operated as a non-profit retreat and workshop center. We are located north of San Francisco, above the Napa Valley wine region, near Middletown. Guests travel here from around the world to soak in the natural spring pools, sunbathe (clothing is optional), receive massages or Watsu, practice yoga, attend workshops, hike the hills, or to simply relax in the embrace of nature. If you have never visited our center, you owe it to yourself. If it has been a while since your last visit, welcome home.
Hiking (Bay Area)
An easy 1.5-mile loop around the lake passes under the shade of live oak and redwoods before hugging the eastern shore of the lake where you'll add some adventure to your amble with a brief scramble over rocks and boulders. Pass through a grove of fragrant eucalyptus trees before heading up the Wildcat Gorge Trail, currently covered in rich yellow and orange-brown leaves and pine needles. Most of the fall colors are found along Wildcat Creek, which is home to rainbow trout and California newts. After a few minutes, you'll loop back to the lake via Selby Trail.
A hidden redwood forest lies off Redwood Road just a few miles over the ridge from downtown Oakland. The forest's peaceful groves give little evidence of the park's bustling past – in the mid-1800s the area was the scene of extensive logging to supply building materials for the San Francisco Bay Area. The logging era has long since passed, and a stately forest of 150-foot coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) has replaced those cut down.
While there are miles of trails for the dedicated hiker and backpacker, Big Sur also offers spectacular scenery within steps of Highway 1. And for those willing to hike a few miles, the rewards include rapidly changing settings of oak and lush redwood forests, ocean views, rocky streams, and coastal brush. Having hiked in Big Sur, it's a never-ending treat to visit for a weekend (or more).
In 1848, James Marshall discovered gold on the South Fork American River, making this river famous and perfect for American River rafting. Today, South Fork American River white water rafting is not only the most popular American River rafting run, but is also the most popular whitewater run in all of California. A wonderful introduction to American River white water rafting, this river is ideal for the first-timer as well as the seasoned American River rafting veteran.
From Chili Bar Reservoir to Folsom Lake, the South Fork American River flows 21 beautifully unbridled miles of exciting American River rafting. Over 25 major California river rafting rapids cut through some of the most varied geology in the Sierra. Along with the natural and human history, you'll thrill to the challenge of such ominous sounding California river rafting rapids as Meatgrinder, Troublemaker, Satan's Cesspool, and Hospital Bar!
Sunset kayaking is an enchanting experience. The water often turns glassy and calm on the Oakland Estuary late in the day, and twilight adds to the unique ambiance. We'll enjoy a leisurely paddling pace as the sun goes down, setting the stage for a beautiful evening on the water. Weather depending, we'll paddle towards the mouth of the Oakland Estuary, or towards Alameda Island, taking in the quaint sights of this nautical community. You'll stay warm and dry in our cozy double sea kayaks, too.